Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meygen Marine Tidal Power Environmental Impact Assessment Moves Forward

 Sponsor and developer of the world’s largest marine tidal power project announced to date, Meygen’s contracted Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime (KM) to carry out underwater noise studies for its 400-MW project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth. KM will measure and monitor noise levels from prototype Meygen tidal turbines at a European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) site to assess their effect on marine life before they are approved for installation at the project site.

KM’s also helping MeyGen monitor progress of turbine suppliers’ trials at EMEC in Orkney. “The results of the underwater noise impact studies being carried out by Kongsberg Maritime at Emec will affect how the devices are positioned on the seabed [at the MeyGen project site] to deliver optimum power while having minimal impact on marine life,” Recharge News quoted KM’s general manager for offshore, David Shand.
“Crown Jewel” of Scotland’s Marine Tidal Resource Base

MeyGen is aiming to install marine tidal turbines at depths between 20-40 meters over a 3.5-square kilometer area of the Pentland Firth between Scotland’s northern coast and the island of Stroma, an area considered the “crown jewel” of Scotland’s rich marine tidal resource base. Currents there average 4 meters/second, according to Recharge News’ report.

A joint venture between investment bank Morgan Stanley, independent power company International Power and marine tidal technology provider Atlantis Resources, Meygen’s moving forward with plans to install a 20-MW pilot installation of marine tidal turbines from Atlantis Resources and Rolls-Royce-TGL (Tidal Generation Ltd.) at the Pentland Firth site. Overall project completion is slated for 2020.

The underwater noise studies are a big part of the Meygen project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) and consenting processes. The project’s EIA will span the entire project development process, spanning the environmental impacts of the marine tidal power generation array to the substation connections to the UK national electricity grid.

MeyGen’s produced an EIA scoping document as per Scottish regulations for Phase I of the project. The EIA scoping document is meant to ensure Meygen’s EIA process is comprehensive and conforms with Scottish environmental protection regulations.

In it, Meygen states it will “conduct a preliminary review of the environmental baseline and risks which require more detailed assessment and provide a framework for consultation and identify the relevant regulatory bodies and statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.”

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